Foodie In Training

Monday, May 23, 2011

CSA=fresh food and creative cooking

What does CSA stand for?

Good Question! It stands for
Community Supported Agriculture.

What is it?

A "share" of fresh ingredients from a local farm.

Ryan and I have been wanting to do a CSA for a few years now, and this summer we decided to take the plunge! We did a lot of research (614 magazine had a great
article about CSA's a few months ago) and decided to purchase a our CSA with Green Seed Farm in Westerville, OH. For 20 weeks we will get a bundle of fresh, local veggies, herbs, and farm fresh eggs. It changes every week because it depends on the harvest. So far we have received three bundles of goodies, and it's been great! The harvest has been a little light due to all the rain we've gotten, but the bundles are starting to get more plentiful.

Here's a snapshot of our shares for the first 3 weeks! We are splitting the CSA with our friend Thad, so every week I separate a third of the bounty and we use the rest.

Week One:Farm fresh eggs, radishes, rosemary, oregano, Russian kale, butter lettuce, swiss chard, and homemade salad dressing.

Week Two:Lettuce, farm fresh eggs, green onions, cucumbers, swiss chard, collard greens.

Week Three:
Farm fresh eggs, radishes, green onions, lettuces (2 kinds), kale, basil, sage, and rosemary.

The farm fresh eggs are FANTASTIC. They have a wonderful, rich taste. Much better than grocery store eggs (that travel many miles before you eat them!) It's been so much fun trying the veggies I never think to buy at the store. This CSA forces us to be creative and resourceful with what we get each week.

I'll leave you with a recipe for the kale chips I made last week. I've seen a few recipes for kale chips on the blogs I read and on recipe websites. It is so easy! And they really have the crunch of a potato chip. Don't get me wrong, potato chips taste better..but for a healthy alternative to on of my favorite salty snack, this hit the spot!

Kale Chips
adapted from many recipes (mainly Smitten Kitchen)

1 bunch of Kale (I only had about 1 oz) with stems and ribs cut out.
1 tsp. of olive oil
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Rinse and dry kale leaves. Cut of stems and cut out ribs of kale. Lightly toss with olive oil. Lay on a baking sheet and Sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake from bake for 15-20 minutes. Mine only took about 12 minutes, but I only had a small bundle of leaves. If you have a big bundle of leaves, it may take longer.

Enjoy! We did. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Having a meal at home? What a novel idea!

Ryan and I have been bad. Over the past few months we've been really busy, on vacation, and let's be honest, a little lazy. We have only cooked a handful of meals at home. Many of them consisted of our now famous "fend for yourself night" where we are both on our own for figuring out dinner. Those nights usually mean leftovers, turkey sandwiches, or eggs (and to be honest, a little karate chopping and faux-boxing). So we've been slacking.. We both enjoy eating out but it's definitely a little harder on the bank account and not very healthy.

Why am I telling you all of this? Airing out our dirty laundry? I would only reveal some of our bad habits, if it meant revealing one of our good habits! We are pretty good cooks. And we enjoy it. Yesterday on a rainy Sunday, we cooked a pretty good meal. Nothing fancy, nothing over the top.. just a nice, home-cooked meal. And we actually ate at the table. (gasp!) We have a new dining room table and it's oh so pretty. So pretty that sometimes I don't feel like setting it up for dinner when Ryan is having eggs and cereal and I'm reheating leftovers.

What started our journey back to home cooking? The grocery store(s)! Yes, this past Sunday we went to three "grocery" stores (that's a whole other post). We stocked our fridge and we were feeling inspired.

A few weeks ago I had seen a post on Smitten Kitchen (my favorite food blog) and she made a Martha Stewart dish called a Crispy Potato Roast. Deb over at Smitten Kitchen was making it for Seder as an alternative to the creamy, gloppy, gratins that are tradition. Don't get me wrong, I like a dish with cream and cheese and other tasty ingredients..but I like to save that for special occasions.

So I broke out the ole' mandolin and got to work thinly slicing potatoes and shallots. Smitten Kitchen adapted her recipe a bit from the original Martha Stewart recipe, and I adapted mine as well. To start off, I cut the recipe in half and it was more than enough for the two of us. I also added one sweet potato into the mix because it needed to be used (sneaky thing had been hiding in the bottom of the drawer).

The original recipe called for thyme, I used 4 stalks of rosemary. I also added some Old World Seasoning. Old World Seasoning is my best friend. I got it in gift basket of spices and it use it in almost everything. It has paprika, pepper, salt, parsley, turmeric, caraway, dill, and more! It's a lovely Central European blend of spices that adds a little extra something.

When it was finished baking, sprinkled some Parmesan cheese over the top. Other garnish options that would be fabulous: crumbled bacon, blue cheese, feta cheese, and green onion.

For the pork chops, I kept it simple. I lightly seasoned each side with salt, pepper, lemon zest, chopped fresh rosemary (dried will also work), a little lemon juice, and a little olive oil. I wanted to grill them outside..but Ohio weather pretty much sucks right now. So we sauteed them in a pan. To garnish, I added some fresh rosemary and a chopped lemon slice (rind and all, my mother-in-law will be proud).

LinkFor minimal money and effort, we had a tasty meal!
I am promising you all (and myself) to not get in a such a lazy cooking rut. It's just silly!